Entrepreneurs helping communities through innovation

story our people how we can help Contact Home

The House of Lords

Andrew Mawson was awarded a Life Peerage in 2007 by the House of Lords Appointments Commission and sits as an independent crossbench peer in the Upper House.  He is a regular attendee and speaker in the Lords.  We hope this page will provide a feel for the separate work he does there and the concerns it reflects.

Andrew questions the over-confidence of the role of the state in a debate on A Manifesto to Strengthen Families

02 November 2017

"Being aware of unintended consequences and learning from what we have done," Andrew stressed, "is the first rule of thumb," as he described well-intentioned government initiatives that have failed to help those who needed it the most.


Read more here

Andrew speaks during debate on the Report from the European Union Committee, Brexit: the options for trade (5th Report)

02 March 2017

Advocating that we "think more outside the box" as we prepare to exit the European Union, Andrew said: " Brexit is a real opportunity for new thinking about the opportunities now presenting themselves in a digitised world that exists outside traditional silos. To grasp it, we all need a real change of mindset, both in Europe and in this country".

Read more here

Andrew speaks during the European Union (Withdrawal Bill)

20th February 2017

Saying "[t]oday, our children are a nation not of shopkeepers but of entrepreneurs," he emphasised that this is a great opportunity to repeal some of the bureaucracy that holds our country back.

Read more here

Lord Mawson speaks in debate on the annual State of the North Report

12th January 2017

Andrew, focussing on the heart of the matter, in the debate on the Institute for Public Policy Research’s annual State of the North report, and the case for equality of opportunity and sustainable productivity, in the House of Lords, on the 12th January, said, whilst welcoming the report: " [the report] does not pay enough attention to the details of the business and social entrepreneurs actually doing the job on the ground."

Read more here

Lord Mawson speaks in a debate in the House of Lords on tackling the causes of poverty in the UK

17 November 2016

Read speech here

Debate on the causes of poverty in the United Kingdom

14 July 2016

Lord Mawson suggests: "one reason the young are increasingly disenchanted with representative democracy is precisely because they can see that Governments of differing complexions—no matter what US Presidents say—seem incapable of delivering the integrated and joined-up world they want to live in," as he took part in a debate on building a stronger economy, Thursday 28th April.
Read more here

Debate on building a stronger economy

28 April 2016

Lord Mawson suggests: "one reason the young are increasingly disenchanted with representative democracy is precisely because they can see that Governments of differing complexions—no matter what US Presidents say—seem incapable of delivering the integrated and joined-up world they want to live in," as he took part in a debate on building a stronger economy.
Read more here

Debate on the European Union Referendum

2 March 2016

Taking part in the highly-charged debate on the European Union Referendum Andrew emphasised "Diversity, not uniformity, is the spice of life." Calling for more humility on all sides of the argument Andrew declared: "[t]he electorate need practical examples of how the EU will work successfully, not large meaningless numbers and spin," something "they do not believe ..."
Read more here

Andrew cites the crucial importance of "own[ing] our well-being" as he takes part in a key debate on "the case for building a health-creating society in the United Kingdom where all sectors contribute to creating a healthy and resilient population."

26th November 2015

Describing how the success of the Bromley By Bow Centre has evolved over 30 years Andrew said: "one of the reasons for our success is the very process of experimentation itself and a whole range of diverse people co-creating a new way of doing things over an extended period." Answering rhetorically, how Bromley By Bow, an exemplar in its field, can be reproduced in other areas Andrew emphasised: "how our model can be replicated...  is in terms of translation, rather than replication."
Read more here

Andrew leads important debate: That this House takes note of progress made in the regeneration of East London since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the remaining challenges.

5th November 2015

"While there have been some challenges," Andrew affirmed that "the legacy promises made in east London in terms of regeneration are on track and developing at quite a pace." Emphasising that nearly "40,000 additional jobs will be located on and around the park by 2025" Andrew declared "this country has secured the most advanced legacy of any modern Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Read more here

Debate on the availability and quality of apprenticeships

15th October 2015

During the recent debate on the availability and quality of apprenticeships in the House of Lords Andrew spoke of the success of the LLDC in focusing "on the creation of job and apprenticeship opportunities in legacy for local residents" during "the large programme of construction works at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park." Andrew emphasised that it was crucial to "pay apprentices the national minimum wage" as "low wages feed low retention rates."
Read more here

Andrew speaks about the need to be more radical on health and social care during the Humble Address to the Queen's Speech

3rd June 2015

Whilst noting the laudable aims of the Government's health policy Andrew, citing a seminal report on health inequality, said: "positive health outcomes are significantly more influenced by social determinants than clinical determinants; indeed, that our health is 70% driven by social determinants and only 30% by clinical factors".
Read more here

Andrew speaks during the Committee Stage of the Assisted Dying Bill

16th January 2015

Noting the importance of getting the wording right Andrew said: ".. the words we use in the Bill and what we mean by them really matters when we have to translate their meaning and purpose into the languages and dialects of every nationality on earth". Underlining the importance of well informed public debate with a proper understanding of the realities that the Bill would bring Andrew said: "Good objective presentation must be the order of the day if people are to be able to make informed choices."
Read more here

Andrew takes part in a topical debate about the future of the NHS

8th January 2015

Speaking from recent experience of the circuitous nature of bureaucracy and its debilitating effect on projects Andrew said: “we need consistency. The message and the people constantly change.” Andrew, emphasising his point argued: “ … there needs to be accountability. No one seems able to take a decision”.
See full speech here

Andrew speaks on the important debate regarding the impact of National Health Service innovation and research strategies on health improvement

26th November 2014

Focusing on primary care, the way it is delivered and the sheer volume of paperwork and reports that accompany it Andrew called for a more community based approach. "Invest[ing] in informal networks" is the way to get things done.
See the full speech here

Andrew speaks during the debate on the Second Reading of the Assisted Dying Bill and the dangers of trying to prescribe through legislation in this area

Friday July 18th

Speaking against the Bill Andrew questioned the “blind faith [given to] doctors and social workers [that they] will protect the vulnerable,” by saying “yet we are given daily examples where we are failed by specialists.”
Read the full speech here

Debate on the Voluntary and Charitable

Thursday June 26th

Taking part in the debate on the Voluntary and Charitable in the House of Lords Andrew, noting that “[t]imes are hard for the third sector ..”, observed that: “bureaucratisation, caused by the state … often leads to a loss of the human touch.”  Draining away the dynamism, energy and enthusiasm of [many] voluntary organisations, this in turn, has led to a loss of the “driven, entrepreneurial flair that brought them into being in the first place.”
Read his acclaimed speech on Hansard

Andrew draws attention to non-conformist churches during a Motion to Take Note on the importance of the English parish church

Thursday 12th June

Speaking about the serious challenges faced by churches Andrew said: “[Many] have offered kindness, opportunity and a strong sense of community that has helped relieve social tensions and supported the most vulnerable in our society.” But others have “ … been closed-off, sadly sometimes inward-looking, with their heads in the sand if not in the clouds.” Commenting on the need for reform to help churches become more meaningful within communities Andrew urged them to: “embrace [the enterprise] culture, to use their talents and join the next generation of young people as they become ever more entrepreneurial, while they still have the time.”
Read the acclaimed speech in full on Hansard

House of Lords debate the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy

19th March 2014

Andrew spoke during the Motion to Take Note on the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy. Praising the hard work and dedication that has gone into securing the legacy for the future Andrew highlighted that whilst the Olympic project is far from finished: “The future of all eight permanent London 2012 venues is now secure. This collectively means that London is further ahead than any other host city in history.” Andrew finished off by saying: “The future in east London is full of opportunity, but it still demands hard work, focus and a continuity of purpose.”
Read the acclaimed speech in full on Hansard

Is the Government doing enough to champion and support arts and cultural organisations in this challenging financial landscape?

12 February 2014

Andrew secured and led a debate on this important subject in the House of Lords citing The Conservatoire in Blackheath as an important example of how arts organisations can embrace mixed funding streams and successfully pioneer an entrepreneurial agenda. Read the acclaimed speech in full on Hansard.

The link between education and the economy is vital

5 December 2013

"The often unconscious bias against business in the classroom needs to be addressed. Teachers are uncomfortable with their students trading and earning money in school. They are uneasy when you speak to them about profit margins and exploiting market opportunities. Unless this is addressed, the contribution of education to economic growth will be muted". Read the full speech.

Andrew's contribution to Litter debate

19 July 2013

It is my view that a local context often reflects the wider world in which we live: the micro is the way into the macro. Small acts can tell us a great deal about emerging social trends. In my opinion, the UK’s litter problem is just one of many national signs that illustrate the disconnection between political PR-speak and the reality on the ground.
Read the full speech on Hansard.

Andrew's contribution to the 'Business and Society' debate

13 June 2013

My Lords, when I began my work as a social entrepreneur in the East End of London 30 years ago, there was a clear perception that the public sector and charities were the good guys who do good to people and that business was for, and I quote, “greedy capitalist pigs”. Of course, many of us at that time had little, if any, real practical experience of working with business people. However, we read the Guardian and completed our university degrees and so we were experts.

Andrew's response to HM the Queen's Gracious Speech

13 May 2013

If the present Government want to distinguish themselves from previous Governments and distance themselves from broken political promises, I suggest our politicians focus on three words: delivery, delivery, delivery. My colleagues and I have found that trust is created and local people participate when you deliver in practice on what you say.
Read the full speech on Lords' Hansard.

Andrew leads debate on Olympic Legacy to great acclaim

24 January 2013

To move that this House takes note of the role of communities, the arts and creative industries in delivering a lasting legacy to the Olympics, and of the lessons that can be learnt more broadly.

Andrew contributes to Lord Boateng's debate: what steps do the Government intend to take to enable the voluntary sector to participate in the delivery of public services

13 December 2012

I have spent the past 35 years demonstrating in practice how the voluntary sector can play a crucial role in innovation and in delivering public services in new ways that focus on the customer. How can it use its position, sitting between the often large bureaucracies of the public and private sectors, to bring much needed innovation in the delivery of public services?

Andrew speaks out on global warming in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

15 November 2012

If we cannot make money out of saving the planet then it is not going to be saved. The business of saving the environment has to be our business and it has to be a commercial enterprise or it will mean nothing to many.

Andrew leads a debate in the Lords’ on urban regeneration

28 June 2012

The purpose in raising this debate today is to make sure that these two important areas of growth are placed firmly on the map of the UK. They present the nation with development nodes that are nationally and internationally significant, now and in the years ahead. They require a sustained, co-ordinated and thoughtful response from the Government if they are to fulfil their true potential.

Financial Services Bill (Second Reading)

20 June 2012

I would remind the House that the City, whose wealth came through the docks in east London, started with coffee houses where people met each other and did deals. This world was about relationships and integrity-”my word is my bond”. You can create endless regulation and legislation but if people do not act with integrity and relate to each other it will not work.

Andrew’s contribution to ‘Faith Communities’ Debate

31 May 2012

In contrast, faith organisations in general have a broader view of care for the whole person. They have a wider concern for those they help rather than a narrow, sectional interest, and this is why they should be involved in the delivery of public services. I hope that policymakers within government will take this point into account as we move forward with the restructuring of the National Health Service and are all encouraged to embrace a localism agenda.

Health Minister Earl Howe praises Andrew’s contribution to Health and Social Care Bill

24 April 2012

Today I am going further and put on the public record that the Secretary of State for Health is committing that the requirements in the public services Bill will be fully applied in relation to commissioning of NHS services through the procurement guidance that the board will produce on this. These were issues that were raised very compellingly by the noble Lord, Lord Mawson, and I pay tribute to him for his powerful and consistent advocacy on this theme”.

Andrew’s contribution to Public Services (Social Value) Bill

1 February 2012

I believe that change comes from within. It is not about a top-down or a bottom-up approach; change happens from inside out. The change I describe will happen only if we take in hand the outdated machinery of government and bend it to our will. This is fundamentally a practical task for practitioners and the Government would do well to point to them and celebrate their work. This is a job for the Brunels of this generation-the engineers and entrepreneurs. It is not a task for the faint-hearted or those Guardian readers who, in my experience, are all too content to analyse the world to death and comment from the sidelines through newspaper articles and government reports. Gird your loins for this practical task; it is time that we celebrated practical people.

Andrew’s latest contribution to the Localism Bill

12 July 2011

Often local authorities are actually not in touch with the practical opportunities on the ground presented by land and buildings.

Andrew’s thoughts on the Localism Bill

14 June 2011

My question to the Minister is: does anybody currently drafting this legislation have personal experience of challenging a local authority when trying to deliver a service? If the Minister would find it helpful, I would be willing to share our considerable experience in this area and explore together how we might make this piece of the legislation workable in practice.

To call attention to the case for policies to support economic growth and to promote investment, innovation, technology, infrastructure, skills and job creation; and to move for papers.

6 April 2011

I suggest that the big society depends on micro businesses as exemplars to lead the way.I therefore request that the Minister actively explores practical ways to identify, promote and foster economic growth within this emerging entrepreneurial sector across the UK. Much of it is based in some of our most challenging communities. The social sector is formed from many shoots and distinctions need to be drawn to protect these young entrepreneurial flowers. Will the Minister please inform the House how the Government plan to empower social enterprises in some of our most challenged communities?

Reorganisation of the NHS

21 December 2010

How in practice is government going to use the restructuring of the health service to create a new narrative relevant to modern health? Secondly, what is government going to do to ensure that doctors engage with innovators and entrepreneurs?

Speech to the House of Lords 28th October 2010

4 November 2010

My Lords, I want to make a few points about health and social care. How do we provide quality healthcare that meets the real needs of patients in today’s world? Will the popular biomedical model of health meet all those patient needs, or does its internal logic present us with a limited view of what [...]

Health: Primary and Community Care Debate 24th June 2010

25 June 2010

Lord Mawson:My Lords, it is a privilege to be able to lead this debate on the future of primary and community care at this early stage in the new coalition Government. The vision that the Government have set out for primary care, where resources are deployed in the hands of practitioners close to the ground, [...]

Education, Health, Welfare, and Culture – 3rd June 2010

4 June 2010

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I should like to add to the deluge of praise. I congratulate the new Government on their success and wish them well in the coming years as they try to develop a working partnership and deliver their programme. I also want to take this opportunity to wish the Minister, the noble [...]

The Use of Church Buildings – 22nd February 2010

25 February 2010

My Lords, there are nearly 50,000 church buildings in England; 16,200 of them belong to the Church of England, and the rest are mostly owned by the Catholic Church, the free churches and other denominations. Many sit on prime sites at the centre of their communities, yet they are often large and underused.

Queens’ Speech – 23rd November 2009

25 November 2009

I have a bit of a reputation, I think, as a moderniser of public services and for taking outdated health and education systems and applying to them entrepreneurial thinking and practice. My colleagues and I, both in east London and nationally, have produced results over the past 30 years which demonstrate some success. At the core of this work has often been the empowerment of disfranchised local communities and individual citizens so that they might take more responsibility for their personal lives and families and their local community. This is what citizenship is all about.

Healthcare – June 25th 2009

14 October 2009

The poor souls in the third sector are no third-rate choice. The third sector is like any other sector—better in some places than others. Our approach to procuring health and social care services is ignoring some of the most talented and innovative individuals and organisations—people who have been working tirelessly in their communities for far longer than the perennially reconstituted PCTs and health authorities.

Olympic Legacy 18th June 2009

18 June 2009

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble Lord, Lord Coe, for leading this important debate. It is a very helpful time to have this discussion, because a great deal has happened during the past year and new opportunities are now presenting themselves, which allow us all to move on and to deal with the [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 23rd June 2008

23 June 2008

Lord Mawson: I shall speak to Amendments Nos. 113B and 113C. A well conducted ballot is widely thought to be the best way to interpret existing transfer legislation. The proposal is now to write the requirement for a transfer ballot more directly into the Bill. The value of ballots is hard to argue with, but it [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 16th June 2008

16 June 2008

Lord Mawson: The key point that I was attempting to make before I was interrupted by the Division Bell is that the housing association movement was begun by social entrepreneurs of their day who used their independence from the state to begin to pioneer new and innovative ways of creating social housing. The capital development programme [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 11th June 2008

11 June 2008

Lord Mawson: Amendment No. 104ZA seeks to encourage the Minister and her colleagues to look carefully at how the large amount of money which they are about to invest in housing can be used as a trigger to encourage social innovation. The housing association movement was begun by social entrepreneurs of their day, who used their [...]

Housing and Regeneration Bill 19th May 2008

19 May 2008

Lord Mawson: I shall speak to Amendment No. 23A, which is in my name and is part of the group. It is a probing amendment, which recognises that the creation of the Homes and Communities Agency presents us with a real opportunity to move away from public housing monocultures of the past and to invest in [...]

Housing and Regeneration 13th May 2008

13 May 2008

Lord Mawson: I, too, welcome the amendment. Since I entered your Lordships’ House I have been very encouraged by the concern about quality of design. I was very encouraged by the debate, which I could not attend but which I read, in which the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, spoke, on the quality of design. One can [...]

Housing and Regeneration 28th April 2008

28 April 2008

Lord Mawson: My Lords, I, too, welcome what I perceive the Government are attempting to achieve in this Bill. The creation of the Homes and Communities Agency could have enormous potential and be a key delivery partner in building successful communities. The aspiration behind this legislation is laudable and presents enormous possibilities for the investment that [...]

Arts and Healthcare

6 March 2008

The key question is: what does it mean to be a healthy and fully rounded human being and what kind of services do we need that will help, rather than hinder, such human development?

Olympic Games 2012: Legacy

17 January 2008

Lord Mawson rose to call attention to building sustainable communities and securing a worthwhile legacy for the London Olympics; and to move for Papers.

Maiden Speech 20th June 2007

20 June 2007

Lord Mawson: My Lords, as I rise to make my maiden speech I am conscious, as the son of a milkman from Bradford, of both the privilege and the responsibility of taking a seat in this place. I take this opportunity to thank those noble Lords and staff who in the past few weeks have helped [...]